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  • FIRST POST
    • MSE Guy
    • By MSE Guy 29th Oct 09, 4:19 PM
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    MSE Guy
    MSE News: Unmarried couples could get greater inheritance rights
    • #1
    • 29th Oct 09, 4:19 PM
    MSE News: Unmarried couples could get greater inheritance rights 29th Oct 09 at 4:19 PM
    This is the discussion thread for the following MSE News Story:

    "Unmarried couples will be given automatic inheritance rights when one dies without leaving a will, under proposals published today ..."


Page 1
    • yelf
    • By yelf 29th Oct 09, 6:50 PM
    • 841 Posts
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    yelf
    • #2
    • 29th Oct 09, 6:50 PM
    • #2
    • 29th Oct 09, 6:50 PM
    stands to reason. i have seen old ladies left homeless because they didnt marry the perons they lived with as man and wife for over 40yrs.
  • Legalised-victim
    • #3
    • 29th Oct 09, 7:18 PM
    New inheritance law on living together-but how far off?
    • #3
    • 29th Oct 09, 7:18 PM
    My partner of 7 years died in April of this year, aged 48. She was a gifted, degree-educated Psychiatric nurse. I was 13yrs older than her and we bought a house together 5yrs ago in her name, due to myself being self employed, and aged 56. A year after we bought the house she developed severe depression, and her condition became very much worse until 2 yrs ago she had to take continued sick-leave, and was later admitted to a Psychiatric hospital for a short period. Late in 2008 her union negotiated an excellent retirement package on the grounds of 'ill-health' bearing in mind she had by then 30yrs service with the NHS. As my business was suffering badly due to the U.K. recession we decided to semi-retire on her pension (18.5k p/a+ 50k. lump-sum), with myself carrying out the odd project, rather than working full-time. This was ideal for us, due to her condition, during which I had already had to care for her on a regular basis over 3-yrs. She suddenly died of a stroke, just 5 days after receiving the application forms for her NHS pension which remained uncompleted on the dining-room table. Immediately after her death I discovered that 'our' mortgage had inadvertently only been insured for unemployment-cover. That there was no will (she'd always claimed that she had an NHS registered will- how could I check that?)', and that under cohabitee-law I had no rights to anything. This included the 3000 I'd only the day before transferred in to her a/c in order to pay household bills. Within 36 hrs of her death I was to all intents a pauper. Her estranged daughter of 24yrs who was heavily involved in drugs and the 'chav'-lifestyle, who had offered no support during her mothers illness, was to get the equity on 'our' home (60k) and the now meagre 43k settlement 'lump-sum' now offered i.e. as a result of my partners sudden death, by NHS Pensions ( as her 'survivor' I would have rec'd 50% of her pension- if the forms had been completed and returned).I am told that legal costs to challenge this 'automatic' award will be in the region of 10k. I don't have that money, I am therefore destroyed at the age of 62. All of you who simply 'live together' take note, as this new proposal may lie a long way off.
    Last edited by Legalised-victim; 02-11-2009 at 8:13 PM.
    • Dinah93
    • By Dinah93 29th Oct 09, 7:53 PM
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    Dinah93
    • #4
    • 29th Oct 09, 7:53 PM
    • #4
    • 29th Oct 09, 7:53 PM
    Its a very, very sad story from the gentleman above, but I can't say I'm entirely in support of this. I lived with an abusive, violent man for more than two years, it took me that long to have the courage to leave, and I would hate to think he would have been automatically entitled to my savings and my car and the like, 2 years is not that long for many relationships, most people have been with someone for that long for it to then end.
    Debt January 1st 2018 65,773.65
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    • wizk1
    • By wizk1 29th Oct 09, 10:23 PM
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    wizk1
    • #5
    • 29th Oct 09, 10:23 PM
    • #5
    • 29th Oct 09, 10:23 PM
    Moral of the story is to write a will, regardless!
  • Legalised-victim
    • #6
    • 29th Oct 09, 10:31 PM
    • #6
    • 29th Oct 09, 10:31 PM
    Refrence Dinah: thats why its proposed as being 5yrs of cohabitating...long enough to decide one way or the other I hope!
    Last edited by Legalised-victim; 02-11-2009 at 7:53 PM.
    • northwest1965
    • By northwest1965 30th Oct 09, 6:49 AM
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    northwest1965
    • #7
    • 30th Oct 09, 6:49 AM
    • #7
    • 30th Oct 09, 6:49 AM
    I cannot agree more - write a will. Consider a Power of Attorney.
    We are currently unmarried and there's many things to consider. If you or your partner is seriously ill, you are not the next of kin so could have no say. All gets very messy.
    Loved our trip to the West Coast USA. Death Valley is the place to go!
    • scubaqueen
    • By scubaqueen 30th Oct 09, 10:31 AM
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    scubaqueen
    • #8
    • 30th Oct 09, 10:31 AM
    • #8
    • 30th Oct 09, 10:31 AM
    If you choose to live together then it is your responsibility to ensure that the legal situation is covered because eventually one of you will be left behind. I don't mean to sound uncaring but this is just the way it is.

    Doesn't matter whether you are married, civil partnership or simply living together. Get a watertight will drawn up so that you are each protected otherwise things may not turn out the way the you intend. Many people refuse to consider making wills - some ex colleagues of mine who in other ways are extremely intelligent when asked if they had wills, didn't and thought it was "morbid" and "tempting fate".

    We are in the process now of trying to get Guardianship arranged for an elderly relative and see the value of Power of Attorney - another thing that we should all be looking at to ensure our affairs are looked after by the person we want and not someone appointed by the state in case of incapacity.
  • Legalised-victim
    • #9
    • 30th Oct 09, 8:28 PM
    • #9
    • 30th Oct 09, 8:28 PM
    The instant reaction that I received from friends, and aquaintances, at the time of my partners death was "But what about 'common-law' marriage?" or "Didn't the Goverment change the laws on that one, sometime ago?" The answer to both is 'NO!' Common-law marriage status actually died out in the 1700's and the Gov't only 'reviewed' the cohabitation rights a few years ago. No changes passed into Law. As I said, even the above proposed changes may take an awful long time to pass into Law...so spread the word to all your live-in friends. Even a 4.00 D.I.Y legal-will document from W.H. Smiths, properly completed, could save the incredibly desperate and stressful circumstances that I found myself in.
    • seven-day-weekend
    • By seven-day-weekend 30th Oct 09, 10:33 PM
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    seven-day-weekend
    Can't say I agree with the proposals.

    Marriage is a LEGAL commitment to each other and if people can't be bothered to do the legal bit I don't see why they should have the same benefits.

    However, if a co-habitee wants their partner to inherit, they can write a will. If they can't be bothered to either get married or write a will, then where is the commitment and why should they be treated the same as a couple in a legallly binding relationship?
    Member #10 of 2 savers club
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    • northwest1965
    • By northwest1965 31st Oct 09, 7:05 AM
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    northwest1965
    Can't say I agree with the proposals.

    Marriage is a LEGAL commitment to each other and if people can't be bothered to do the legal bit I don't see why they should have the same benefits.

    However, if a co-habitee wants their partner to inherit, they can write a will. If they can't be bothered to either get married or write a will, then where is the commitment and why should they be treated the same as a couple in a legallly binding relationship?
    Originally posted by seven-day-weekend
    Its not always about being 'bothered' to get married, what happens if you are with a partner who had his fingers very badly burned and wants to wait a while before getting married. We've been together 3and half years now and are just ready to make the commitment.
    Loved our trip to the West Coast USA. Death Valley is the place to go!
    • seven-day-weekend
    • By seven-day-weekend 31st Oct 09, 10:24 AM
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    seven-day-weekend
    Its not always about being 'bothered' to get married, what happens if you are with a partner who had his fingers very badly burned and wants to wait a while before getting married. We've been together 3and half years now and are just ready to make the commitment.
    Originally posted by northwest1965

    I meant people who never get married. Nothing wrong with waiting a while.
    Member #10 of 2 savers club
    Imagine someone holding forth on biology whose only knowledge of the subject is the Book of British Birds, and you have a rough idea of what it feels like to read Richard Dawkins on theology: Terry Eagleton
  • Legalised-victim
    The fact is, that if you're married it almost supercedes a legal-will. Your husband or wife will automatically receive your estate. However, any children involved will not receive any direct benefit, or expectations, unless you specify your wishes in a will. The Family & Dependents Act 1975, allows a legitimate challenge to any will through the Probate Courts....if, you have the money to support a legal-team(@150-250 p/hour) and yourself, for a period of up to 18 months. A daunting prospect when all you may be seeking is to retain the roof over your head, and time to grieve for the loss of your loved one.
    • northwest1965
    • By northwest1965 1st Nov 09, 12:34 PM
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    northwest1965
    The fact is, that if you're married it almost supercedes a legal-will. Your husband or wife will automatically receive your estate. However, any children involved will not receive any direct benefit, or expectations, unless you specify your wishes in a will. The Family & Dependents Act 1975, allows a legitimate challenge to any will through the Probate Courts....if, you have the money to support a legal-team(@150-250 p/hour) and yourself, for a period of up to 18 months. A daunting prospect when all you may be seeking is to retain the roof over your head, and time to grieve for the loss of your loved one.
    Originally posted by Legalised-victim
    At the moment my OH has a death in service policy with work. If that didnt exist at the time of his death and our property is in joint names, could the children make me sell his 50% share to fund their upbringing?
    Loved our trip to the West Coast USA. Death Valley is the place to go!
    • surreysaver
    • By surreysaver 1st Nov 09, 12:56 PM
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    surreysaver
    At the moment my OH has a death in service policy with work. If that didnt exist at the time of his death and our property is in joint names, could the children make me sell his 50% share to fund their upbringing?
    Originally posted by northwest1965
    When you say 'OH' do you mean spouse or civil partner, or do you mean co-habitee?

    If you are married or civil partners, unless you are 'tenants in common', you do not own 50% of the property, you own all of it. Your spouse also owns all of it. Most married couples are not 'tenants in common', they are joint tenants. You both jointly own 100% of the property. Therefore if you OH dies, you still own 100% of the property. This overrides any will.
    I consider myself to be a male feminist. Is that allowed?
    • northwest1965
    • By northwest1965 1st Nov 09, 1:12 PM
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    northwest1965
    I mean co-habitee at the moment. Oh god I do hope for not much longer
    Loved our trip to the West Coast USA. Death Valley is the place to go!
    • surreysaver
    • By surreysaver 1st Nov 09, 1:18 PM
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    surreysaver
    In that case, if you are joint tenants, then you both own the property 100% between you, the same as a married couple. If you are tenants in common, you can specify what percentage of the house you each own. It is when the house is in one person's name that the probelm arises.
    Last edited by surreysaver; 01-11-2009 at 2:12 PM.
    I consider myself to be a male feminist. Is that allowed?
  • Legalised-victim
    When one looks at this issue in a detached manner, and outside of any other issues regarding the legalisation of marriage, or perhaps even moral standpoints it makes a certain amount of sense. If we accept that there are many thousands of people living together across the U.K. who may continue for years to do so, then their jointly accumulated wealth, assets etc, will then support the 'survivor' to that relationship. Otherwise, the State may be forced, via the Benefit System, to support that person. The only problem I can forsee, is in the case of pseudo-step-parents, whereby the surviving partner could escape with all the estate and nothing passes to the children of their partner. Which, in effect is the exact reverse of what has happened to myself under the present system. Maybe a 'once n' for all' Govt. information campaign regarding legal-wills, pension nominees, and other 'survivor' issues, would blow away a few of the urban-myths or fears that surround the matter. It may motivate live-in couples, to activate or examine their legal circumstance a little more clearly and responsibly. To my eternal chagrin, I certainly wish that I had been a tad more motivated in that direction.
    Last edited by Legalised-victim; 03-11-2009 at 3:08 PM.
    • Crabman
    • By Crabman 19th Oct 11, 2:49 PM
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    Crabman
    Apologies for bumping an old thread but this is important: if a child of divorced parents (without a spouse/kids of their own) were to die without a will, both parents would be entitled to an equal share of the assets. This means if a father was totally absent during a child's upbringing, he would still be entitled to accept a half share of the child's assets.

    I'm not sure what's happened to the inheritance law reform since the change of government but this is something that should be taken account of as it would repulse those who were brought up by a single parent to know their biological father would be entitled to a half share of their assets.
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    • dazza.mk
    • By dazza.mk 19th Oct 11, 3:03 PM
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    dazza.mk
    Apologies for bumping an old thread but this is important: if a child of divorced parents (without a spouse/kids of their own) were to die without a will, both parents would be entitled to an equal share of the assets. This means if a father was totally absent during a child's upbringing, he would still be entitled to accept a half share of the child's assets.

    I'm not sure what's happened to the inheritance law reform since the change of government but this is something that should be taken account of as it would repulse those who were brought up by a single parent to know their biological father would be entitled to a half share of their assets.
    Originally posted by Crabman
    What about those where there has been an amicable split during the divorce and a good relationship with the father? (or cases where the mother has walked out.. ie reported cases of the woman who recently won Euromillions). The case is too specific to be dealt with by general intestate law, as you would need some method of specifying the 'rules of intestate' in a specific case (ie a will).
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